Words are powerful.
Words have the power to build or to destroy.
Retarded: a word.
Yet so much more.
The word “retarded” or “retard” has become a word used to define something that is stupid, ridiculous, inadequate, awkward, different, brainless. Something or someone with a flaw, a mistake, a bad choice.
And 2 of my precious girls stand beneath the shadow of that word: retarded.
A word that threatens to spread a lie of who my children are.
A word that spreads an ignorant stereotype.
A word that bullies mercilessly.
A word that hurts deeply.
A word that defiles them.
But the words that define people like my daughters – those that have become my people – are words that reflect the quality and value of their lives:
Love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, forgiveness, acceptance.
There is an incredible measure of unconditional, complete, knows-no-bounds kind of love that is found in those with intellectual disabilities.
If you were to spend a day surrounded by these beautiful people, you would walk away inspired, renewed, and challenged. You would be able to see yourself in new ways, and recognize the flaws and weaknesses found in your own life that are so complete and pure in this people group. They embrace us regardless of our limitations.
If you want to know courage and determination, all you need to do is spend time with these people.
The word retarded will soon pierce your heart when you know and understand the devastating implications of using such a word. When you realize that there is a people group that need us to stand behind them to challenge the word that they are not the word “retarded.” They deserve only our respect.
Today is spread the word to end the r-word. I ask you, as a mother, as a friend:
Please, don’t use the word retarded.